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With Many Illustrations from Photographs

T. Werner Laurie, Ltd.


[Illustration: Village of Atuona, showing peak of Temetiu
The author's house is the small white speck in the center]


There is in the nature of every man, I firmly believe, a longing to
see and know the strange places of the world. Life imprisons us all
in its coil of circumstance, and the dreams of romance that color
boyhood are forgotten, but they do not die. They stir at the sight
of a white-sailed ship beating out to the wide sea; the smell of
tarred rope on a blackened wharf, or the touch of the cool little
breeze that rises when the stars come out will waken them again.
Somewhere over the rim of the world lies romance, and every heart
yearns to go and find it.

It is not given to every man to start on the quest of the rainbow's
end. Such fantastic pursuit is not for him who is bound by ties of
home and duty and fortune-to-make. He has other adventure at his own
door, sterner fights to wage, and, perhaps, higher rewards to gain.
Still, the ledgers close sometimes on a sigh, and by the cosiest
fireside one will see in the coals pictures that have nothing to do
with wedding rings or balances at the bank.

It is for those who stay at home yet dream of foreign places that I
have written this book, a record of one happy year spent among the
simple, friendly cannibals of Atuona valley, on the island of
Hiva-oa in the Marquesas. In its pages there is little of profound
research, nothing, I fear, to startle the anthropologist or to
revise encyclopedias; such expectation was far from my thoughts when
I sailed from Papeite on the _Morning Star_. I went to see what I
should see, and to learn whatever should be taught me by the days as
they came. What I saw and what I learned the reader will see and
learn, and no more.

Days, like people, give more when they are approached in not too
stern a spirit. So I traveled lightly, without the heavy baggage of
the ponderous-minded scholar, and the reader who embarks with me on
the "long cruise" need bring with him only an open mind and a love
for the strange and picturesque. He will come back, I hope, as I did,
with some glimpses into the primitive customs of the long-forgotten
ancestors of the white race, a deeper wonder at the mysteries of the
world, and a memory of sun-steeped days on white beaches, of palms
and orchids and the childlike savage peoples who live in the
bread-fruit groves of "Bloody Hiva-oa."

The author desires to express here his thanks to Rose Wilder Lane,
to whose editorial assistance the publication of this book is very
largely due.



Farewell to Papeite beach; at sea in the _Morning Star_; Darwin's
theory of the continent that sank beneath the waters of the South


The trade-room of the _Morning Star_; Lying Bill Pincher;
M. L'Hermier des Plantes, future governor of the Marquesas;
story of McHenry and the little native boy, His Dog


Thirty-seven days at sea; life of the sea-birds; strange
phosphorescence; first sight of Fatu-hiva; history of the islands;
chant of the Raiateans


Anchorage of Taha-Uka; Exploding Eggs, and his engagement as valet;
inauguration of the new governor; dance on the palace lawn


First night in Atuona valley; sensational arrival of the Golden Bed;
Titihuti's tattooed legs


Visit of Chief Seventh Man Who is So Angry He Wallows in the Mire;
journey to Vait-hua on Tahuata island; fight with the devil-fish;
story of a cannibal feast and the two who escaped


Idyllic valley of Vait-hua; the beauty of Vanquished Often; bathing
on the beach; an unexpected proposal of marriage


Communal life; sport in the waves; fight of the sharks and the
mother whale; a day in the mountains; death of Le Capitaine Halley;
return to Atuona


The Marquesans at ten o'clock mass; a remarkable conversation about
religions and Joan of Arc in which Great Fern gives his idea of the


The marriage of Malicious Gossip; matrimonial customs of the simple
natives; the domestic difficulties of Haabuani


Filling the _popoi_ pits in the season of the breadfruit; legend of
the _mei_; the secret festival in a hidden valley


A walk in the jungle; the old woman in the breadfruit tree; a night
in a native hut on the mountain


The household of Lam Kai Oo; copra making; marvels of the
cocoanut-groves; the sagacity of pigs; and a crab that knows the
laws of gravitation


Visit of Le Moine; the story of Paul Gauguin; his house, and a
search for his grave beneath the white cross of Calvary


Death of Aumia; funeral chant and burial customs; causes for the
death of a race


A savage dance, a drama of the sea, of danger and feasting; the rape
of the lettuce


A walk to the Forbidden Place; Hot Tears, the hunchback; the story
of Behold the Servant of the Priest, told by Malicious Gossip in the
cave of Enamoa


A search for rubber-trees on the plateau of Ahoa; a fight with the
wild white dogs; story of an ancient migration, told by the wild
cattle hunters in the Cave of the Spine of the Chinaman


A feast to the men of Motopu; the making of _kava_, and its drinking;
the story of the Girl Who Lost Her Strength


A journey to Taaoa; Kahuiti, the cannibal chief, and his story of an
old war caused by an unfaithful woman


The crime of Huahine for love of Weaver of Mats; story of Tahia's
white man who was eaten; the disaster that befell Honi, the white
man who used his harpoon against his friends


The memorable game for the matches in the cocoanut-grove of Lam Kai


Mademoiselle N - -


A journey to Nuka-hiva; story of the celebration of the fête of Joan
of Arc, and the miracles of the white horse and the girl


America's claim to the Marquesas; adventures of Captain Porter in
1812; war between Haapa and Tai-o-hae, and the conquest of Typee


A visit to Typee; story of the old man who returned too late


Journey on the _Roberta_; the winged cockroaches; arrival at a Swiss
paradise in the valley of Oomoa


Labor in the South Seas; some random thoughts on the "survival of
the fittest"


The white man who danced in Oomoa valley; a wild-boar hunt in the
hills; the feast of the triumphant hunters and a dance in honor of


A visit to Hanavave; Père Olivier at home; the story of the last
battle between Hanahouua and Oi, told by the sole survivor; the
making of _tapa_ cloth, and the ancient garments of the Marquesans


Fishing in Hanavave; a deep-sea battle with a shark; Red Chicken
shows how to tie ropes to sharks' tails; night-fishing for dolphins,
and the monster sword-fish that overturned the canoe; the native
doctor dresses Red Chicken's wounds and discourses on medicine


A journey over the roof of the world to Oomoa; an encounter with a
wild woman of the hills


Return in a canoe to Atuona; Tetuahunahuna relates the story of the
girl who rode the white horse in the celebration of the fête of Joan
of Arc in Tai-o-hae; Proof that sharks hate women; steering by the
stars to Atuona beach


Sea sports; curious sea-foods found at low tide; the peculiarities
of sea-centipedes and how to cook and eat them


Court day in Atuona; the case of Daughter of the Pigeon and the
sewing-machine; the story of the perfidy of Drink of Beer and the
death of Earth Worm who tried to kill the governor


The madman Great Moth of the Night; story of the famine and the one
family that ate pig


A visit to the hermit of Taha-Uka valley; the vengeance that made
the Scallamera lepers; and the hatred of Mohuto


Last days in Atuona; My Darling Hope's letter from her son


The chants of departure; night falls on the Land of the War Fleet


Village of Atuona, showing peak of Temetiu

Beach at Viataphiha-Tahiti

Where the belles of Tahiti lived in the shade to whiten their

Lieutenant L'Hermier des Plantes, Governor of the Marquesas Islands

Entrance to a Marquesan Bay

The ironbound coast of the Marquesas

A road in Nuka-Hiva

Harbor of Tai-o-hae

Schooner _Fetia Taiao_ in the Bay of Traitors

André Bauda, Commissaire

The public dance in the garden

Antoinette, a Marquesan dancing girl

Marquesans in Sunday clothes

Vai Etienne

The pool by the Queen's house

Idling away the sunny hours

Nothing to do but rest all day

Catholic Church at Atuona

A native spearing fish from a rock

A volunteer cocoanut grove, with trees of all ages

Climbing for cocoanuts

Splitting cocoanut husks in copra making process

Cutting the meat from cocoanuts to make copra

A Marquesan home on a _paepae_

Isle of Barking Dogs

The _haka_, the Marquesan national dance

Hot Tears with Vai Etienne

The old cannibal of Taipi Valley

Enacting a human sacrifice of the Marquesans

Interior of Island of Fatu-hiva, where the author walked over the

The plateau of Ahoa

Kivi, the _kava_ drinker with the _hetairae_ of the valley

A pool in the jungle

The Pekia, or Place of Sacrifice, at Atuona

Marquesan cannibals, wearing dress of human hair

Tepu, a Marquesan girl of the hills, and her sister

A tattooed Marquesan with carved canoe paddle

A chieftess in _tapa_ garments with _tapa_ parasol

Launching the whale-boat

Père Simeon Delmas' church at Tai-o-hae

Gathering the _feis_ in the mountains

Near the Mission at Hanavave

Starting from Hanavave for Oomoa

Feis, or mountain bananas

Where river and bay meet at Oomoa, Island of Fatu-hiva

Sacred banyan tree at Oomoa

Elephantiasis of the legs

Removing the pig cooked in the _umu_, or native oven

The _Koina Kai_, or feast in Oomoa

Beach at Oomoa

Putting the canoe in the water

Pascual, the giant Paumotan pilot and his friends

A pearl diver's sweetheart

Spearing fish in Marquesas Islands

Pearl shell divers at work

Catholic Church at Hanavave

A canoe in the surf at Oomoa

The gates of the Valley of Hanavave

A fisherman's house of bamboo and cocoanut leaves

Double canoes

Harbor sports

Tahaiupehe, Daughter of the Pigeon, of Taaoa

Nataro Puelleray and wife

Author's Note. Foreign words in a book are like rocks in a path. There
are two ways of meeting the difficulty; the reader may leap over them,
or use them as stepping stones. I have written this book so that they
may easily be leaped over by the hasty, but he will lose much enjoyment
by doing so; I would urge him to pronounce them as he goes. Marquesan
words have a flavor all their own; much of the simple poetry of the
islands is in them. The rules for pronouncing them are simple;
consonants have the sounds usual in English, vowels have the Latin
value, that is, a is ah, e is ay, i is ee, o is oh, and u is oo.
Every letter is pronounced, and there are no accents. The Marquesans
had no written language, and their spoken tongue was reproduced as
simply as possible by the missionaries.



Farewell to Papeite beach; at sea in the _Morning Star_; Darwin's
theory of the continent that sank beneath the waters of the South

By the white coral wall of Papeite beach the schooner _Fetia
Taiao_ (_Morning Star_) lay ready to put to sea. Beneath the
skyward-sweeping green heights of Tahiti the narrow shore was a mass
of colored gowns, dark faces, slender waving arms. All Papeite,
flower-crowned and weeping, was gathered beside the blue lagoon.

Lamentation and wailing followed the brown sailors as they came over
the side and slowly began to cast the moorings that held the _Morning
Star_. Few are the ships that sail many seasons among the Dangerous
Islands. They lay their bones on rock or reef or sink in the deep,
and the lovers, sons and husbands of the women who weep on the beach
return no more to the huts in the cocoanut groves. So, at each sailing
on the "long course" the anguish is keen.

"_Ia ora na i te Atua!_ Farewell and God keep you!" the women cried
as they stood beside the half-buried cannon that serve to make fast
the ships by the coral bank. From the deck of the nearby _Hinano_
came the music of an accordeon and a chorus of familiar words:

"I teie nie mahana
Ne tere no oe e Hati
Na te Moana!"

"Let us sing and make merry,
For we journey over the sea!"

It was the _Himene Tatou Arearea_. Kelly, the wandering I.W.W.,
self-acclaimed delegate of the mythical Union of Beach-combers and
Stowaways, was at the valves of the accordeon, and about him
squatted a ring of joyous natives. "_Wela ka hao!_ Hot stuff!" they

Suddenly Caroline of the Marquesas and Mamoe of Moorea, most
beautiful dancers of the quays, flung themselves into the _upaupahura_,
the singing dance of love. Kelly began "Tome! Tome!" a Hawaiian hula.
Men unloading cargo on the many schooners dropped their burdens and
began to dance. Rude squareheads of the fo'c'sles beat time with
pannikins. Clerks in the traders' stores and even Marechel, the
barber, were swept from counters and chairs by the sensuous melody,
and bareheaded in the white sun they danced beneath the crowded
balconies of the Cercle Bougainville, the club by the lagoon. The
harbor of Papeite knew ten minutes of unrestrained merriment, tears
forgotten, while from the warehouse of the navy to the Poodle Stew
café the hula reigned.

[Illustration: Beach at Viataphiha-Tahiti]

[Illustration: Where the belles of Tahiti lived in the shade to
whiten their complexions.]

Under the gorgeous flamboyant trees that paved their shade with
red-gold blossoms a group of white men sang:

"Well, ah fare you well, we can stay no more with you, my love,
Down, set down your liquor and the girl from off your knee,
For the wind has come to say
'You must take me while you may,
If you'd go to Mother Carey!'
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!)
Oh, we're bound for Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!"

The anchor was up, the lines let go, and suddenly from the sea came
a wind with rain.

The girls from the Cocoanut House, a flutter of brilliant scarlet
and pink gowns, fled for shelter, tossing blossoms of the sweet
tiati Tahiti toward their sailor lovers as they ran. Marao, the
haughty queen, drove rapidly away in her old chaise, the Princess
Boots leaning out to wave a slender hand. Prince Hinoi, the fat
spendthrift who might have been a king, leaned from the balcony of
the club, glass in hand, and shouted, "_Aroha i te revaraa!_" across
the deserted beach.

So we left Papeite, the gay Tahitian capital, while a slashing
downpour drowned the gay flamboyant blossoms, our masts and rigging
creaking in the gale, and sea breaking white on the coral reef.

Like the weeping women, who doubtless had already dried their tears,
the sky began to smile before we reached the treacherous pass in the
outer reef. Beyond Moto Utu, the tiny islet in the harbor that had
been harem and fort in kingly days, we saw the surf foaming on the
coral, and soon were through the narrow channel.

We had lifted no canvas in the lagoon, using only our engine to
escape the coral traps. Past the ever-present danger, with the wind
now half a gale and the rain falling again in sheets - the
intermittent deluge of the season - the _Morning Star_, under reefed
foresail, mainsail and staysail, pointed her delicate nose toward the
Dangerous Islands and hit hard the open sea.

She rode the endlessly-tossing waves like a sea-gull, carrying her
head with a care-free air and dipping to the waves in jaunty fashion.
Her lines were very fine, tapering and beautiful, even to the eye of
a land-lubber.

A hundred and six feet from stem to stern, twenty-three feet of beam
and ten feet of depth, she was loaded to water's edge with cargo for
the islands to which we were bound. Lumber lay in the narrow lanes
between cabin-house and rails; even the lifeboats were piled with
cargo. Those who reckon dangers do not laugh much in these seas.
There was barely room to move about on the deck of the _Morning Star_;
merely a few steps were possible abaft the wheel amid the play of
main-sheet boom and traveler. Here, while my three fellow-passengers
went below, I stood gazing at the rain-whipped illimitable waters

Where is the boy who has not dreamed of the cannibal isles, those
strange, fantastic places over the rim of the world, where naked
brown men move like shadows through unimagined jungles, and horrid
feasts are celebrated to the "boom, boom, boom!" of the twelve-foot

Years bring knowledge, paid for with the dreams of youth. The wide,
vague world becomes familiar, becomes even common-place. London,
Paris, Venice, many-colored Cairo, the desecrated crypts of the
pyramids, the crumbling villages of Palestine, no longer glimmer
before me in the iridescent glamor of fancy, for I have seen them.
But something of the boyish thrill that filled me when I pored over
the pages of Melville long ago returned while I stood on the deck of
the _Morning Star_, plunging through the surging Pacific in the
driving tropic rain.

Many leagues before us lay Les Isles Dangereux, the Low Archipelago,
first stopping-point on our journey to the far cannibal islands yet
another thousand miles away across the empty seas. Before we saw the
green banners of Tahiti's cocoanut palms again we would travel not
only forward over leagues of tossing water but backward across
centuries of time. For in those islands isolated from the world for
eons there remains a living fragment of the childhood of our
Caucasian race.

Darwin's theory is that these islands are the tops of a submerged
continent, or land bridge, which stretches its crippled body along
the floor of the Pacific for thousands of leagues. A lost land,
whose epic awaits the singer; a mystery perhaps forever to be
unsolved. There are great monuments, graven objects, hieroglyphics,
customs and languages, island peoples with suggestive legends - all,
perhaps, remnants of a migration from Asia or Africa a hundred
thousand years ago.

Over this land bridge, mayhap, ventured the Caucasian people, the
dominant blood in Polynesia to-day, and when the continent fell from
the sight of sun and stars save in those spots now the mountainous
islands like Tahiti and the Marquesas, the survivors were isolated
for untold centuries.

Here in these islands the brothers of our long-forgotten ancestors
have lived and bred since the Stone Age, cut off from the main
stream of mankind's development. Here they have kept the childhood
customs of our white race, savage and wild, amid their primitive and
savage life. Here, three centuries ago, they were discovered by the
peoples of the great world, and, rudely encountering a civilization
they did not build, they are dying here. With their passing vanishes
the last living link with our own pre-historic past. And I was to see
it, before it disappears forever.


The trade-room of the _Morning Star_; Lying Bill Pincher;
M. L'Hermier des Plantes, future governor of the Marquesas;
story of McHenry and the little native boy, His Dog.

"Come 'ave a drink!" Captain Pincher called from the cabin, and
leaving the spray-swept deck where the rain drummed on the canvas
awning I went down the four steps into the narrow cabin-house.

The cabin, about twenty feet long, had a tiny semi-private room for
Captain Pincher, and four berths ranged about a table. Here, grouped
around a demijohn of rum, I found Captain Pincher with my three
fellow-passengers; McHenry and Gedge, the traders, and M. L'Hermier
des Plantes, a young officer of the French colonial army, bound to
the Marquesas to be their governor.

The captain was telling the story of the wreck in which he had lost
his former ship. He had tied up to a reef for a game of cards with a
like-minded skipper, who berthed beside him. The wind changed while
they slept. Captain Pincher awoke to find his schooner breaking her
backs on the coral rocks.

"Oo can say wot the blooming wind will do?" he said, thumping the
table with his glass. "There was Willy's schooner tied up next to me,
and 'e got a slant and slid away, while my boat busts 'er sides open
on the reef, The 'ole blooming atoll was 'eaped with the blooming
cargo. Willy 'ad luck; I 'ad 'ell. It's all an 'azard."

He had not found his aitches since he left Liverpool, thirty years
earlier, nor dropped his silly expletives. A gray-haired, red-faced,
laughing man, stockily built, mild mannered, he proved, as the
afternoon wore on, to be a man from whom Münchausen might have
gained a story or two.

"They call me Lying Bill," he said to me. "You can't believe wot I

"He's straight as a mango tree, Bill Pincher is," McHenry asserted
loudly. "He's a terrible liar about stories, but he's the best
seaman that comes to T'yti, and square as a biscuit tin. You know how,
when that schooner was stole that he was mate on, and the rotten
thief run away with her and a woman, Bill he went after 'em, and
brought the schooner back from Chile. Bill, he's whatever he says he
is, all right - but he can sail a schooner, buy copra and shell cheap,
sell goods to the bloody natives, and bring back the money to the
owners. That's what I call an honest man."

Lying Bill received these hearty words with something less than his
usual good-humor. There was no friendliness in his eye as he looked
at McHenry, whose empty glass remained empty until he himself
refilled it. Bullet-headed, beady-eyed, a chunk of rank flesh shaped
by a hundred sordid adventures, McHenry clutched at equality with
these men, and it eluded him. Lying Bill, making no reply to his
enthusiastic commendation, retired to his bunk with a paper-covered
novel, and to cover the rebuff McHenry turned to talk of trade with
Gedge, who spoke little.

The traderoom of the _Morning Star_, opening from the cabin, was to
me the door to romance. When I was a boy there was more flavor in
traderooms than in war. To have seen one would have been as a
glimpse of the Holy Grail to a sworn knight. Those traderooms of my
youthful imagination smelt of rum and gun-powder, and beside them
were racks of rifles to repel the dusky figures coming over the

The traderoom of the _Morning Star_ was odorous, too. It had no
window, and when one opened the door all was obscure at first, while
smells of rank Tahiti tobacco, cheap cotton prints, a broken bottle
of perfume and scented soaps struggled for supremacy. Gradually the
eye discovered shelves and bins and goods heaped from floor to
ceiling; pins and anchors, harpoons and pens, crackers and jewelry,
cloth, shoes, medicine and tomahawks, socks and writing paper.

Trade business, McHenry's monologue explained, is not what it was.
When these petty merchants dared not trust themselves ashore their
guns guarded against too eager customers. But now almost every
inhabited island has its little store, and the trader has to pursue
his buyers, who die so fast that he must move from island to island
in search of population.

"Booze is boss," said McHenry. "I have two thousand pounds in bank
in Australia, all made by selling liquor to the natives. It's
against French law to sell or trade or give 'em a drop, but we all
do it. If you don't have it, you can't get cargo. In the diving
season it's the only damn thing that'll pass. The divers'll dig up
from five to fifteen dollars a bottle for it, depending on the
French being on the job or not. Ain't that so, Gedge?"

"_C'est vrai_," Gedge assented. He spoke in French, ostensibly for

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